Editing Tags

Q: What is a good way to edit all my MP3 tags so that they are organized when I transfer them all onto my iPod?  Some of my artists’ names differ in their syntax or spelling, and some of my songs don’t even have an artist tag. This makes iPod browsing very difficult.

– Eric

A: You’re absolutely right that maintaining good tags on your iTunes files is very important to iPod navigation. Most of us toil over our tags, ensuring that browsing our tunes on the iPod will be as logical as possible. Tagging is usually a boring, manual task, but once you’ve completed all your existing files, then keeping up as your library grows is easy.

We’ve written a tutorial on using iTunes to tag your music files. The article, found here, supplies a few tips and tricks that we find useful when tagging our tracks.  For example, how to tag multiple tracks with common information (artist, album, year, etc.) all at once.

Several programs do exist, however, to try and simply and/or automate the process. One of our favorite mass-tagging utility for Windows is Tag&Rename, which allows you to glean Artist, Song, or Album information from the filename, or rename files from the tags. It’s also generally more powerful and friendly to large tagging jobs than is iTunes. Other programs are more ambitious in their automation, attempting to re-tag files using whatever information it can find. The more “automatic” the process, however, the more unreliable it is. You’re likely going to have some work to do no matter how you do it. Try a few options and see what works best for your library.

If you use a utility outside of iTunes, you’ll need to re-add the files to your music library after you’re done with them.

Jerrod H. is an iLounge Contributing Editor, with frequent contributions to our iPod 101 and 201 tutorials, plus occasional hardware and software product reviews.

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